Photokina 2014 highlights

Science

Using GPS (but not that  GPS), scientists can trace the geographic origins of someone's DN...

An international team of scientists has developed a process that allows them to pinpoint a person’s geographical origin going back 1,000 years. Known as the Geographic Population Structure (GPS) tool, the method is accurate enough to locate the village from which the subject’s ancestors came, and has significant implications for personalized medical treatment.  Read More

Bottles filled with water, detergent and graphene flakes – the graphene absorbs a small am...

It is one atom thick and touted to be stronger than steel. Graphene has captured the scientific and public imagination as the wonder material of the 21st century. Now, researchers at Trinity College Dublin have found a way to extract the substance from graphite – using a kitchen blender and some liquid soap.  Read More

One of the 3D spec-wearing mantises, which probably isn't actually smiling

Although us humans take 3D vision for granted, it's not a standard feature throughout the animal kingdom. In fact, praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess it – a fact which makes them excellent hunters. Scientists at Britain's Newcastle University are now studying the insects' ability to see in 3D, to determine if it could be copied in human technologies such as robot vision systems. As part of that study, they're equipping mantises with the smallest pairs of 3D glasses ever made.  Read More

The team constructed a lipid-coated nanodevice that survived the mouse immune system due t...

Researchers from Harvard University's Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a cloaked DNA nanodevice capable of evading the body's immune defenses. The design was inspired by real world viruses and could be used to diagnose cancer and better target treatments to specific areas of tissue.  Read More

A gecko shows off its uniquely-sticky feet  (Photo: Shutterstock)

A couple of years ago, we first heard about a gecko-inspired reusable adhesive known as Geckskin. According to its creators at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it could be used to hang objects weighing up to 700 pounds (318 kg) on smooth surfaces such as glass. Now, however, they've announced a new version that also works on rough surfaces, like drywall and wood.  Read More

Olive oil counterfeiters may be thwarted by DNA particles, that are mixed into the liquid ...

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles.  Read More

Dr. Steve Lee, with some of his easy-bake lenses

Microscope lenses are typically made either by grinding and polishing glass discs, or pouring polymers into molds – both techniques can be quite involved, which is reflected in the price of the finished product. Now, however, a scientist from Australian National University has devised a new lens-making process, in which drops of silicone are simply baked in an oven. The resulting lenses can be used for a variety of applications, yet are worth less than one cent each.  Read More

The peacock mantis shrimp has a punch like a .22 bullet (Photo: Carlos Puma)

A new lightweight, super strong material has been discovered thanks to one of nature’s most violent sociopaths. The peacock mantis shrimp may look like a colorful, reasonably mild-mannered aquarium dweller, but its claws have the punch of a .22 bullet. A team of researchers led by University of California, Riverside, has developed a carbon composite that imitates the claw’s structure. The result is a promising new material that may one day be used to build cars and airplanes.  Read More

The University of Michigan M, formed by exposing the microparticles to light

Military vehicles that change color to be dark at night, and camo-green in the daylight ... could such a thing be possible? Well, it's certainly closer to reality, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Michigan. Scientists there have created a solution that changes color when exposed to light, then changes back when the light is removed. If incorporated into a thin film coating, the result could be chameleon-like surfaces.  Read More

We may not be fully aware of what 'human enhancement' will really entail (Image: Shutterst...

Any mention of cyborgs or superpowers evokes fantastical images from the realms of science fiction and comic books. Our visions of humans with enhanced capabilities are borne of our imaginations and the stories we tell. In reality, though, enhanced humans already exist ... and they don't look like Marvel characters. As different human enhancement technologies advance at different rates, they bleed into society gradually and without fanfare. What's more, they will increasingly necessitate discussion about areas that are often overlooked – what are the logistics and ethics of being superhuman? Gizmag spoke to a number of experts to find out.  Read More

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